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AUA SPH Article Investigates Armenia’s Progress in Reducing Tobacco Consumption

By the AUA School of Public Health

YEREVAN, Armenia – Alumna and Senior Researcher at the American University of Armenia (AUA) School of Public Health (AUA SPH) Dr. Narine Movsisyan (MPH ’97) recently published an article in the peer-reviewed open access medical journal BMJ [British Medical Journal] Open, in collaboration with one of the world leaders in tobacco control Professor Gregory Connolly of the Harvard School of Public Health. The project was initiated at the Harvard School of Public Health, where Dr. Movsisyan was a Fulbright Scholar.

Armenia was the first among former Soviet countries to join the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in 2004; however, little research has been carried out to evaluate the country’s progress since then.

To fill this gap, a research team assessed the five-year progress in the implementation of WHO FCTC in Armenia using a tobacco control rapid assessment tool, the Tobacco Control Scale (TCS). The study showed that Armenia’s total score on the TCS has considerably improved from 2005 to 2009, most notably due to larger health warnings and an advertising ban, as well as increased public spending on tobacco control. The article suggests that the process of policy change can be accelerated by utilizing multiple strategies, including education and legislation. In Armenia, however, the increased public spending did not translate into effective educational campaigns. Inadequate implementation of the FCTC obligations resulted in partial smoke-free legislation, which would not lead to the desired reduction in tobacco consumption in Armenia.

This is the first paper to examine the application of the rapid assessment tool TCS in transition economies such as Armenia. The study highlights the limitations of the scale and makes recommendations for modifications and additions that could improve the validity and reliability of the scoring system.

“As a Fulbright Scholar, I was privileged to work under Professor Connolly’s mentorship at the Harvard School of Public Health. Since 2004, Professor Connolly has generously shared his professional expertise with Armenian colleagues to support the advancement of tobacco control policy in Armenia, and the publication of a joint article is a milestone in our collaboration,” said Dr. Movsisyan.

The AUA School of Public Health works actively to improve the health of the populace and health services in Armenia and the region through interdisciplinary education and development of public health professionals and others to be leaders in public health, health services research and evaluation, and health care delivery and management.

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Professor Greg Connolly and Dr. Narine Movsisyan at the Harvard School of Public Health

 

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